For me, the most valuable thing I have to give someone is my friendship. It is true and tested, it is not given and taken lightly, and it is there for as long as anyone wants it.
Over the last couple of years I have become more aware of friendships that went very deep and the ones that were only there for the sake of “what can I get from this” experience. These were the friendship that were only for a reason or a season.
Anyone who has worked with me over the years is well aware of my philosophy in relationship building. It is not something that happens overnight and it comes with giving before getting. A true relationship, whether business or personal, starts from a giving space rather than a taking one. I believe by giving, in return you will receive.
This not necessarily common to all from my experiences though. I have been very disappointed and hurt when friends that I perceived as close and dear to me, disintegrated as a result of lack of good communication and perception.
I recognise that all relationships come in for a reason, a season or a lifetime. For me, I endeavour to make them a lifetime, and always leave the door open if the other wishes to return. This does not make it any easier when the time comes to an end for whatever another’s reason, as obviously for them, their purpose of the relationship/friendship is no longer, thus the status change.
The reason for an encounter with someone may be just to teach a lesson and a once only experience. A season may be for a time from weeks, months or a few years, whereas a lifetime is a friendship that endures all, and is not broken by experiences. A lifetime friendship has no rules or expectations.
My friendships are the most important part of my life and to be betrayed goes very deep when it happens with someone I have held very dear. I love my friends, on many levels, for who they are and what they bring to my world. I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunities they give me personally to learn and grow. I do not let a relationship end easily and it is always the others option.
When a relationship goes to a deeper friendship, there can be a fine line on where it goes and understanding is necessary. I take people as they portray themselves to me, which is probably gullible at times and has maybe been foolish, but unless I feel and have a reason not to go there, my door is always open.
I ponder on the ability of some to close the door so very easily, with no concept of what is left behind. I wonder how different my life would have been if I was more discerning in whom I let into it so easily?
The new way of friendship building today via social media and texting has some very good advantages along with some disastrous repercussions owing to the lack of an ability to express oneself other than in black and white. Relationships need to have ‘grey’ in them and expression through feelings, facial features and body language, all of which are taken away with this new form of communication. No wonder we have so many challenges in this area, and I do speak from personal experience here.
The learnings via these mediums for me have been enormous. Although heartbreaking at times I have been left with a feeling of great loss as a result of one or more lives I can no longer impact for all our growth.
As a lover of people, what others offer me for growth has always been a fascination. We all have very different models of experience, eg our beliefs and values, which come into play. We can either increase our awareness of others and our own self-awareness by opening our peripheral vision to see things from another’s point of view, whilst looking deeper at our own internal map of the world and sees where there is a mis-fit.
As a friend, where do you stand? Are you a true or a false friend? I suggest that you consider the friendships you have now and how they fit into your world.
What is your expectation from your friendships and what is their perception of this too? This can be a good conversation to have with them so that you remain on the same page and hurt and disappointment does not ensure in the future. Remember though, that others hear your words from their own awareness and experiences.
I have friendships that I have been prepared to give without very much in return, owing to my ability to give unconditionally to them for their growth. With these people I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to be able to reflect and see what can be gained by my own self learning as a result. There have been times that I have wondered why any sane person would do this, and be hurt so often when there is little return, other than knowing that by being there, I am providing growth and learning for us both which others may never give.
If you have not had the learning experience of giving and being in community it is harder to give as I have learned that it is usually a learnt behaviour. Coming from many years of boarding school and community experiences I learned early about giving. I was fortunate to have a full family connection when I was very young, where sharing the growth of a child was imperative. With grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends on stand-by at all times, to take over when it was necessary for my parents, gave me different perspectives, which now I recognise as being my great teacher.
I suggest you review how you see your friendships and what you bring to the table for everyone’s growth. By doing this, you will learn much about yourself and how you function in the world today.
Are your relationships with people for a reason, a season or a lifetime?